Taupo Bay, Northland

Taupo Bay lies just north of the entrance to the Whangaroa Harbour, and has a picturesque, gently curved horseshoe-shaped white sandy beach, that arcs around for almost one and a half kilometres.

We left Auckland bright and early at 5.30am, to tackle the long four-hour drive to Taupo Bay. It was still dark when we left home and there was very little traffic on the road (one of the many perks of leaving early). After a quick stop at McDonalds, along the way, to grab some breakfast and much needed coffee, we continued our drive North. We had to add on a 10 minute detour through Kerikeri, to go and collect the keys to the bach from the owner and then return them there on the way home. It wasn’t too far out of the way, and we were able to see what this quaint little town looked like.

Sunrise from the lounge in Taupo Bay

Upon arriving at the bach in Taupo Bay, we were surprised by the location. The photos that were posted on the holiday houses advert really didn’t do this place any justice. It is in such a beautiful spot and is so close to the water! It truly is the ideal surfing or kayaking holiday home.

We did have a few minor hiccups with our stay, but this wasn’t the owners fault. We’ve stayed in many baches over the years, and a certain amount of dirt (grass, seasand, dust, etc.) is expected, especially when you’re packing up to leave and accidentally track in something by mistake. Linen is not provided, and nor is a cleaning service, so guests are asked to please take their own sheets and towels, and to please clean up after themselves before they leave. Cleaning supplies are provided and we found a vacuum cleaner in the passage cupboard. Unfortunately, whoever had stayed in the bach before us, hadn’t had the decency to clean up at all before they left.

We walked into the bach to find crumbs on the kitchen counters, old food on the carpet in the lounge, dirty used coffee mugs in the kitchen cupboard, and when I went to go put our sheets on the bed and make it up for the night, I found popcorn husks spread all over the mattress protector. It looked like someone had had a fine time eating their popcorn in bed, and that they’d just slept on top of the mattress protector, under the duvet, without bothering to use any linen. Most disgusting of all were the toenail clippings all over the floor in the main bedroom. Clearly, they hadn’t vacuumed or cleaned. It’s really not the kind of thing you expect to come across, as its not only disgusting, but shows that these people had absolutely no respect for the house they were renting, the owner, or the people coming in after them. Needless to say, the following night we found a dirty bowl in the kitchen cupboard coated with oily salty popcorn husks; remains of their last snack. They hadn’t washed that out either and had just dumped it back in the kitchen cupboard.

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Other than having to clean up after some inconsiderate people, our time in Taupo Bay was really pleasant. We woke up to a beautiful sunrise each morning, went for walks along the wide sandy beach when the tide was out (at high tide, there’s not much beach left), I sat on the deck in the sun while hubby went surfing, and we drove to Mangonui to buy dinner one night.

If you’re looking for really great fish ‘n chips while staying in Taupo Bay, drive 20 minutes to Mangonui and get takeaways (or sit down and eat there) from Fresh ‘n Tasty on the Mangonui Waterfront. The fish was perfectly cooked with a crispy batter and the chips were done to perfection; crispy and golden on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Definitely the best fish ‘n chips we’ve had in New Zealand in the last 4 years!

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There’s isn’t anywhere to buy groceries or essentials in Taupo Bay, so if you need (or forget) anything, it’s a 20 minute drive to Mangonui to the little Four Square store on the waterfront.

We were told that there was a shop with a limited range of essentials, a 5 minutes walk away at the holiday park, but it’s currently under renovation and is closed. I’d forgotten to pack coffee (shock, horror! The one essential we can’t do without!) and we managed to thankfully get some from them, even though the shop is just a shell. They’re hoping to have it up and running for the 2017/2018 summer season.
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Other than the minor inconvenience of having to clean up someone else’s mess, these few days away were very peaceful, relaxing and quite, and we’d definitely consider going up there again.

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